Bristol Myers Squibb, Jack and Jill work to increase number of Black medics

Bristol Myers Squibb senior director Shamika Williams details impact
Bristol Myers Squibb, Jack and Jill work to increase number of Black medics
Shamika Williams (Photo courtesy of Bristol Myers Squibb)

Bristol Myers Squibb has teamed up with Jack and Jill of America to help solve one of the country’s glaring issues. According to research website Zippia, only 4.7% of practicing doctors identify as Black or African American. Through the Bristol Myers Squibb’s program of Tomorrow’s Innovators and the new partnership with Jack and Jill of America, BMS is working to increase the number of Black and LatinX professionals in health care, from doctors to executives, to help “improve minority health incomes.”

Shamika Williams, the senior director of strategy and marketing HBCU initiatives at BMS, answered a few of rolling out’s questions about the impact of this latest collaboration.

How long is the Jack and Jill collaboration and what was the inspiration for it?

Bristol Myers Squibb’s Tomorrow’s Innovators HBCU Initiative formed a three-year exclusive collaboration with Jack and Jill of America to inspire more Black and African American representation within the biopharmaceutical industry. The collaboration is an extension of BMS’ Tomorrow’s Innovators HBCU initiative, launched to create a sustainable pipeline between HBCUs to improve recruitment and retention of practitioners of color in biopharma and directly aligns to BMS’ inclusion and diversity health equity commitments to create and sustain a partnership of diverse talent.

Why is it important to have more Black doctors and representation in the health care industry?

Representation is important. To better understand, reach and serve diverse populations, the workforce must reflect the experiences, perspectives and background of diverse communities.

Why do you believe Black doctors have a better chance of providing better health outcomes for Black patients?

Black doctors understand the experiences, perspectives and backgrounds of Black people.

How will you all measure the success of this collaboration?

We’re looking to improve Black executive representation in biopharma, increasing awareness and interest in the biopharma industry across all types of potential roles and creating a sustainable bridge between families of Jack and Jill of America and the biopharma industry. For BMS, our representation goals remain the same, we aim to double executive representation of Black and LatinX employees in the U.S. and achieve gender parity at the executive level globally. We’ll measure student participation in events and exchange programs.

What was the first Tomorrow’s Innovators announcement with HBCUs? Why did you start it? Why do you feel it was important to tap into Jack and Jill to expand your audience?

Tomorrow’s Innovators HBCU initiative was started to improve diverse representation in the biopharma industry and at BMS and to enhance the student educational experience at participating HBCUs through custom programming and experiences designed to introduce the biopharma industry to Black students earlier in their educational journey. Tapping into the Jack and Jill audience will allow us to empower Black youths and their families to pursue careers in the biopharma industry. It creates an early pipeline with students of Jack and Jill and an executive pipeline from the parents of Jack and Jill.

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